Papal Nuncio asked to meet on State-Vatican relations


THE FOREIGN Affairs Committee of the Oireachtas has invited the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, to a meeting on “relations between Ireland and the Holy See”.

Fine Gael TD Alan Shatter said his main purpose in proposing the invitation was to discuss “issues of importance” arising out of the Murphy report on child sexual abuse in the Dublin archdiocese.

Committee chairman Dr Michael Woods said Archbishop Leanza had been invited to discuss Ireland’s “general relationship with the Vatican state and the nuncio’s role here, including the issues that arose in connection with the Murphy report”.

Mr Shatter said he originally proposed the nuncio be invited to a joint meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Committee on Health and Children. “The Health and Children Committee decided it was a Foreign Affairs Committee issue, but that Health and Children Committee members could attend.”

Mr Shatter added that the Murphy report had noted the failure of the Papal Nuncio and the Vatican-based Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to respond to inquiries from the commission.

He said the nuncio should be be asked “that the assistance the Murphy commission sought be now provided to it” if he agreed to attend. He noted that a second Murphy report on Dublin would be published in the summer, and that the commission was also investigating the Diocese of Cloyne.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin had met the nuncio following publication of the report. But Mr Shatter said the content of that meeting had not been made public: “There’s been no transparency to that.”

He added that it would not be appropriate for a committee meeting with the nuncio to take place in private.

Dr Woods said that, if the Nuncio wished to meet in private, “the committee would have to consider that”. There were “precedents for meetings in private”.

When contacted by The Irish Timesfor comment, the nunciature said it had not so far received a letter from the committee.